On his 2008 Mixtape About Nothing, this D.C. rapper had the guts to set self-examining rhymes to Seinfeld samples. There's nothing so admirably weird on his debut. Wale instead fashions himself Kanye East, a mix of aspiration and anger, given to jazzy moralizing à la the Roots yet not above tapping Lady Gaga for the single "Chillin." "Everybody's on me like the 'A Milli' beat," he boasts while blasting phony stuff like implants and reality shows on "TV in the Radio." The darker moments like "Contemplate," where he explores insecurity against an elegiac Rihanna sample, prove he's best as a doubter, not a hater.
(Posted: Nov 2, 2009)